Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage is available in paperback and on kindle and is being reprinted on Catholic News Agency with author’s permission. Cheryl’s non-fiction book is called Our Jewish Roots: A Catholic Woman’s Guide to Fulfillment Today by Connecting with Her Past.
The way of the wicked is like darkness; they know not on what they stumble. But the path of the just is like shining light, that grows in brilliance till perfect day. Proverbs 4:18-19
Luke woke up Sunday morning and lay in bed for a few minutes thinking of his Saturday afternoon with Joseph and Sammy. Sophia had to work and then was going to stay at the library to tackle a term paper. She left a note on the kitchen counter for Luke to read. Luke had gotten home from work by early afternoon and the boys were each playing on a computer. They had eaten cereal for breakfast and the house seemed to be in good shape. “Hey guys! How are you doing?” Luke had called out upon entering their home.
“Hey, dad,” Sammy had responded from his upstairs bedroom. “I’m on my computer. How are you?”
Luke was thankful that Sammy hadn’t quite entered his rebellious teenage years yet and still found it agreeable to talk to Luke and Beth. As expected, Joseph, more than ready to pick up the teen angst slack left by college-bound Michael, remained silent. “Joseph. Are you home?”
“Yeah,” was Joseph’s monosyllabic response.
“Anyone interested in going out to eat and then to a movie?” Luke waited for any indication that either boy could be pulled from his computer.
“Where?” Joseph asked.
A bit taken aback that Joseph was interested, Luke quickly responded, “Wherever you want. I’m game for anything. I haven’t had lunch yet.”
“What about Chinese?” Sammy inquired.
Luke, not really in the mood for Chinese food, wasn’t about to let that deter the afternoon said, “Sounds good to me if it sounds good to you guys. What do you think, Joseph? Chinese?”
“Well, why don’t you guys finish up your games and let’s get going. I’m going to go get the mail, wash up, and put some jeans on. Do you guys think you can be ready in about twenty minutes?”
Sammy was the first to answer, “I just have to finish this battle. My guy’s almost to the top. I’ll be done in about five minutes.”
Luke waited a few seconds for Joseph to chime in. Not hearing anything, Luke called up the stairs, “Joseph, what about you?”
“Five minutes,” was the best Joseph could do in the way of an answer and Luke would take it.
“Sounds like a plan!”
Luke walked out to the mailbox and gathered the mail. A few pieces of junk mail went directly into the trash and then he carried the electric bill to his home office. Walking into the bedroom, Luke surveyed the mess that had already accumulated. He decided to throw in a load of wash before he and the boys headed out to eat. He also pulled the comforter up, onto the bed. He had never walked into their bedroom at the end of a workday and seen the bed unmade. It was an odd sight.
Walking over to the phone, Luke dialed the voice mail and found out that there was one message waiting to be heard. He knew the call had probably come in while he was at work and everyone else was asleep. Looking around his bedroom and admiring how Beth had decorated it, he dialed in to pick up the message.
The phone was on his side of the bed. Somehow, when chores and areas of responsibilities had been meted out in the early years of their marriage, the phone had become Luke’s domain. He sat in the burgundy leather chair Beth had bought for him on their fifteenth wedding anniversary. While it wasn’t as large as some leather chairs Luke had seen, it was the perfect size for their bedroom. Next to it sat a small end table that complimented their dark oak bedroom set. The corner was Luke’s favorite spot for catching up on a few business-related articles at the end of the day.
Sitting in the chair, holding the phone to his ear, Luke looked at Beth’s side of the bed. It also held a chair and a table, both complementing the bedroom furniture as well as Luke’s chair. However, Beth’s chair was not leather. Hers was the same burgundy color but made of a cotton fabric. Her table was empty, except for her lamp. She had taken the book from it and had also apparently packed the small family picture that had been taken at Michael’s high school graduation. It was a beautiful picture with everyone smiling, almost on the verge of laughing. Something that had become quite rare of late.
“Hi honey. How are you? I’m fine and just wanted to check in. Today is Saturday and I am going to spend it with the Goldfarbs. We are going to attend service and then visit with some of their friends. The weather has been perfect and I have been blessed to have met such a wonderful family. I hope the boys are well and Sophia isn’t taking on too much. Pay attention to her Luke. She’s so busy sometimes she forgets to eat! I’ll check in again in a day or two. Love to everyone!”
Luke finished listening to Liz’s call, pressed the number to save the message, and changed into his jeans. Like Liz, Luke’s waist had gained a few inches over the years, but he was still a fairly thin man. Where had the time gone? He wondered as he looked into the mirror. His hair was more gray than black and his heels often sore from heel spurs. All in all, though, life was very good. At least that was Luke’s perspective. Lately, however, he had become painfully aware that Liz’s perspective was quite different.
Walking through the kitchen towards the garage, Luke was surprised to see the boys. Rarely, if ever anymore, did they listen without multiple proddings. Luke took this as a good sign as they got into the SUV and headed towards the restaurant.
Luke pulled himself out of bed as he continued reflecting on yesterday’s events. Dinner had been a success and the movie had been one they all enjoyed. It was some action packed story about an undercover cop who saves a family from tragedy. It had just enough violence to keep the boys interested but not so much as to upset Luke. And there was no sex in the movie, which was becoming a rarer occurrence with each passing year. These were the things, more than his gray hair and painful heels, that made Luke feel his age. Like Beth, Luke often wondered what kind of world his children were inheriting.
Making a pot of coffee, Luke looked at the clock and decided it would be good to take the kids to church. While the phone responsibilities had become his, church had somehow fallen into Liz’s world of responsibilities. And Luke had not been too cooperative over the years. Now, for some reason, Luke was feeling a real need to attend services today. He vaguely remembered that there was an eleven o’clock mass and decided that would be perfect. It would give the kids a couple more hours of sleep and still leave them all the afternoon for their own interests and obligations. Chances were that both boys had homework they had put off and Luke knew he needed to walk around and do a bit of cleaning. Sophia would be caught up on homework but would surely have other obligations to uphold. Yep, he thought, church at eleven sounded great.
The previous chapters are listed below: